US government awarded patent on fake drug detector

The CD-3 counterfeit medicine detection device developed by the US FDA has been awarded a US patent.

The battery-powered handheld device, which was developed by a team led by FDA research biologist Nico Ranieri, uses optical wavelength testing to detect counterfeit drugs and packaging. To date it has been rolled out at certain US ports of entry – including mail-handling centres and border points – as an initial screening device for customs officers. The device has also been deployed on a pilot basis in Ghana, while Health Canada has also started using it.

CD-3 has been used to analyze almost 100 counterfeit products including drugs like Crestor, Lipitor, Oxycontin, Viagra, Tamiflu, Singulair, Plavix and Wellbutrin, according to market research firm Spearhead Acuity.

The abstract of the patent appears below:

Device and method for detection of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and/or drug packaging

Abstract: Featured are a device and method for the detection of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and/or packaging therefore. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are detected by visual inspection upon exposing a suspected counterfeit pharmaceutical to one or more light sources having different wavelengths, and observing the differences in colour and/or brightness between the suspected counterfeit and a genuine pharmaceutical/packaging. In further embodiments, a image acquisition device acquires an image showing colour and/or other visual effect(s) brightness of the suspect counterfeit and this image is compared to an image of a authentic pharmaceutical/packaging.

(Patent No. 9,476,839)

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